The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The basics

Title: The Well of Ascension


Series: Mistborn #2

- The Final Empire (July 2006)
- The Well of Ascension (August 2007)
- The Hero of Ages (October 2008)
- The Alloy of Law (November 2011)
- Shadows of Self (October 2015)
- The Bands of Mourning (January 2016)
- The Lost Metal (2017?)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler -- the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years -- has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

As Kelsier's protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin's Mistborn skills sharp, but it's the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn't run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier's crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won't get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler's hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

Read a full summary of The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Well of Ascension and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

in short

Straff Venture and Lord Cett show up outside Luthadel. Elend is the king in the beginning but is later voted out. Elend’s half-brother, Zane, becomes a bit of a problem. Vin tries to find the Well of Ascension. Sazed is studying a script that he found, although weird things start happening to it and it turns out that this thing called Ruin has been altering it. Which is why the Lord Ruler wrote everything down on metal. Anyway, a koloss army shows up and attacks Luthadel. Vin, who was sent away to find the Well by Sazed, returns to help and saves the day. Vin figures that the Well is beneath Kedrik Shaw because everything important is in Luthadel. Vin and co. go to the Well, and things go to shit when Elend is stabbed and then made into a mistborn. Oh, and Vin releases the power that’s in the Well, which was not a good move. At all.

what happened in The Well of Ascension?

  • Straff Venture has shown up outside of Luthadel with tonnes of soldiers. Oh dear.
  • Vin is attacked by eight allomancers. She defeats them all, obviously, although a mysterious character called The Watcher lent a hand.
  • Vin sees a figure in the mists that vanishes after Vin pushes coins at it.
  • Ham tells Elend and Vin that the eight allomancers were sent by Cett.
  • Sazed is in a small village in the Eastern dominance. Someone tells him that the mists are coming during the day. Someone was standing in the mists, and they started having spasms and then they died.
  • People from the Church of the Survivor follow Vin and ask for her protection.
  • Vin kills a wolfhound and tells OreSeur he is to use it as his new body. OreSeur is disgusted to begin with but he goes along with it.
  • Vin tries to burn duralumin, but she can’t tell what it could be used for.
  • Marsh has followed Sazed to the village. He wants Sazed to go with him to a Steel Ministry stronghold so they can go through the archives there.
  • Vin discovers that if she burns duralumin while burning second metal, it enhances the second one.
  • Vin chases The Watcher. This time he talks to her, asking if she really did kill the Lord Ruler.
  • Marsh tells Sazed that he should go back to Luthadel after they’ve searched the archives.
  • There’s an Assembly meeting, where Elend gives a speech about Straff’s army and what they should do about it. At the meeting, Vin spots a Terriswoman.
  • Cett’s army shows up outside Luthadel, which means there’s now two out there.
  • Vin and the others spot Breeze fleeing Cett’s army while pursued by archers. Vin intercepts and helps Breeze reach Luthadel. Breeze explains that he was an advisor to Cett, and he orchestrated a whole plan for Cett to bring his army to Luthadel and have it meet Straff’s one in a forced standoff.
  • Two skeletons are found in the palace, indicating that a kandra is impersonating someone. Vin figures it’s probably one of the main crew, which then makes the reader question EVERYTHING.
  • Sazed and Marsh arrive at their destination. There’s been a massacre. They split up, and Sazed finds a steel plate that’s engraved with words from an old Terris dialect. These engravings were written by a Terrisman called Kwaan. This guy is the one who said Alendi was the Hero of Ages, and then realised he had to stop him from completing his quest. Sazed takes rubbings of the engravings.
  • Vin asks OreSeur about the kandra. He says that kandra aren’t allowed to enter human society without a contract, and that they can’t be affected by Allomancy.
  • Vin meets the mist spirit face to face. Kind of. It vanishes before something grabs Vin’s arm and causes her pain.
  • Elend and the crew plan to sabotage the two armies’ food supplies.
  • Vin and Elend meet Tindwyl, the Terriswoman from the meeting.
  • Sazed is on his way back to Luthadel when he comes across a village full of corpses. One man is still alive, and is surviving by eating said corpses. It turns out that the villagers died in the mists.
  • Vin reads the logbook again to try to find information on the mist spirit. She doesn’t find much, but it turns out that the mist spirit followed Alendi around as well.
  • Tindwyl gives Elend a makeover, because he clearly needed one.
  • Straff Venture sends The Watcher to Luthadel as a messenger. Turns out that his name is Zane. He tells Elend and co. that Straff wants to meet at his camp. Vin considers trying to turn Zane against Straff.
  • We get Zane’s point of view for the first time. It’s revealed that he’s Elend’s half brother, and he has a voice in his head that tells him to kill people. Zane tells Straff that he can’t tell if Vin has a secret supply of atium.
  • Sazed comes across an army of koloss and is taken to their leader, Jastes Lekal. Sazed is allowed to leave with a message for Elend about allying himself with the koloss army.
  • Elend plans on playing Straff and Cett off against one another.
  • Vin tries to use Allomancy on Breeze to see if he’s the kandra imposter. It works, so he’s in the clear.
  • Allrianne Cett arrives and asks to see Breeze. Apparently they’re a thing.
  • OreSeur and Vin have a chat about trust and Kelsier and stuff. OreSeur warns her not to trust kandra.
  • Sazed arrives and tells the gang about the koloss army and the dodgy mists.
  • Zane suggests that he and Vin help each other.
  • Elend’s soldiers are tested in a fake attack and it doesn’t go too well.
  • At the meeting, Straff says he has a treaty with Cett. Elend refuses to meet Straff’s terms and Straff tells his soldiers to kill Elend. Eventually he lets Elend leave. Afterwards, Straff orders Zane to kill Vin.
  • The Assembly takes Elend’s crown away from him because tbh he’s a pretty shit leader.
  • Vin asks Sazed about the Deepness, and he doesn’t really give her an answer because he doesn’t know anything for certain. Vin thinks that the mists are the Deepness. Sazed tells Vin that Tindwyl was a Terris breeder, meaning she secretly had more than twenty children.
  • Elend nominates Lord Penrod as Assembly Chancellor. Elend then tells the Assembly about his meeting with Straff, and about how Vin’s presence will stop Straff from attacking the city. Elend, Penrod, and Cett are nominated to be king. Cett takes over one of the abandoned keeps.
  • Vin wonders if she could be the Hero of Ages.
  • OreSeur talks about kandra religion. There are prophecies which state that humans are of Ruin, and kandra are of Preservation. Vin tests Dockson on his memories and opinions to see if he’s the kandra imposter. Vin doesn’t think he is, but OreSeur reminds her that kandra are experts.
  • The wells in the city are poisoned.
  • Reen’s voice tells Vin to leave Elend before he leaves her.
  • Zane attacks Vin, and realises she has no atium. He tells her that Straff told him to kill her, but he’d rather run away with her.
  • There’s a meeting with Cett, who tells them about his plans for Luthadel when he becomes king.
  • Clubs isn’t the kandra imposter because he uses a coppercloud to protect himself.
  • Demoux starts preaching about the Church of the Survivor and the Lady Heir and all that. He also mentions a yellow sun.
  • Sazed things that the Deepness is a change in the mists. He asks Tindwyl not to leave to go to Elend’s armies, and she agrees to stay.
  • Elend joins the Church of the Survivor to try to sway the vote for king. Penrod is elected as king.
  • Elend and Cett are attacked. Vin protects them but is injured. Everyone agrees that the assassins were sent by Straff.
  • Straff meets with Penrod and offers to let him rule Luthadel in exchange for atium.
  • Zane poisons Straff, but unfortunately he’s healed.
  • Zane tells Vin that the assassins were sent by Cett, and that Penrod is in negotiations with Straff. Zane gives Vin some atium.
  • Vin uses brass to get OreSeur to talk. She shouldn’t have been able to do that, which means she’s super powerful.
  • Sazed and Tindwyl are still studying the plate and the logbook. They don’t know why Kwaan didn’t want Alendi to use the Well of Ascension to defeat the Deepness. They think something is wrong with the rubbings but they’re not sure what it is.
  • Someone tells Elend that there’s an Inquisitor in Luthadel.
  • Jastes threatens to take Elend hostage, thinking he’s still the king. Elend stabs Jastes and uses him as a hostage instead. Elend kills a tiny koloss and takes its sword.
  • Zane tells Vin that Demoux is working with Cett, and he suggests they get revenge. OreSeur tells Vin not to go but she ignores him. Vin and Zane kill a bunch of people, but they stop before killing Cett and his son. Zane gets annoyed about this and leaves.
  • Some copies of the plate have their corners ripped off and the same sentence has been destroyed in each of them.
  • Vin and Elend both (separately) ask Sazed for love advice. It’s very cheesy and entirely awful.
  • Sazed calls a secret meeting. He wants to send Elend and Vin away from the city.
  • Vin goes to Kredik Shaw but gets confused about why. She leaves shortly after.
  • Zane tells Straff that he should let the Luthadel be attacked by the koloss. It’s revealed that Zane has a hemalurgic spike in his chest. Shit.
  • Vin realises that the weird drumming she can hear is the Well of Ascension.
  • Zane attacks Vin because she won’t leave with him. Vin tries to command OreSeur but PLOT TWIST, he’s actually another kandra called TenSoon and Zane is in charge of him. TenSoon reminds Vin that she can control him, so she does using brass. Vin stabs Zane, who thinks about how the voice of Ruin in his head didn’t tell him to kill her like it did with everyone else. Zane dies.
  • TenSoon says he must now return to the kandra homeland. Vin forgives him because they’re bros.
  • Vin and Elend get married in the most boring ceremony ever.
  • Sazed suggests that the Well of Ascension is the solution to all their problems. He tells Elend and Vin to go to it, stating that it’s in the Terris mountains which is SUCH a lie. Elend and Vin plan to leave.
  • As they’re leaving, Vin fights off a bunch of archers.
  • Smoke is spotted coming from the koloss camp.
  • Straff collapses. He realises that Amaranta, his servant, was sleeping with Zane. Amaranta has slowly been drugging Straff, making him develop an addiction, and she is now withholding it from him. Straff strangles Amaranta and tries to create an antidote. Then he falls unconscious.
  • Allrianne tells her father that he should help Elend in Luthadel.
  • Straff wakes up and orders his army to march home.
  • Vin sees the mist spirit again. She tries to stab it but it vanishes.
  • The koloss attack the city. Straff hears about this and turns back.
  • Jastes has been following Vin, and he tells her that he can’t control the koloss anymore.
  • Spook tells them that Sazed tricked them.
  • Vin realises that the Well is back in Luthadel (duh) and they return to the city.
  • Breeze Soothes the soldiers that are defending the city. He tries to Soothe the koloss but he can’t.
  • The koloss break into the city.
  • The skaa refuse to go back to their homes, as they want to see Vin fight the koloss, even though Sazed has said that Vin won’t be returning. The skaa want to watch Sazed as well.
  • Sazed fights.
  • Sazed learns that the gate that Tindwyl was defending has fallen.
  • Clubs and Dockson die.
  • Cett refuses to send his army to help fight the koloss, as he’d rather submit to Straff. Idiot.
  • Vin arrives. She fights, but runs out of pewter. She then realizes she can control the koloss telepathically. She orders Penrod to send out soldiers to protect people.
  • Sazed finds Tindwyl’s body.
  • The next morning, Vin attacks Straff. Allrianne charges into the battle on her own because her dad is useless.
  • Elend is accepted as Emperor. Ugh.
  • Elend comes across the mist spirit, which points him north. They then come across a group of refugees. A group of Inquisitors attacked their village.
  • Elend and Spook arrive back at Luthadel.
  • Vin goes to Kredik Shaw, which is where she thinks the Well is located.
  • The mist spirit points Sazed towards Kredik Shaw. Sazed realises that Vin should probably not find the Well (NO SHIT!) and sets out to stop her. Sazed comes across Marsh, who says he has to kill Sazed.

HOW DID The Well of Ascension END?

Vin and the others find a cavern and head towards a glowing pool. The mist spirit stabs Elend. Vin walks into the pool and absorbs the power of the Well. The voice in her head tells her that the Deepness is killing the mists. She lets the power go. The mist spirit tells Vin to feed a metal bead to Elend. She does so, and Elend burns pewter and heals. He’s clearly a mistborn now. Yay.

Sazed compares his rubbings to the engravings on the plate. They don’t match. Apparently the prophecies were altered to try to get Alendi to release the power of the Well, as Vin did, and Kwaan’s plan to prevent this was to have Rashek kill Alendi.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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